Kaylee Markonich and Journey bring home a national crown

Kaylee Markonich and her horse Journey took a grand championship at the Canadian National Arab and Half Arab horse show. Courtesy photo

Championships are the stuff of great memories and 14-year-old Kaylee Markonich and her horse Journey brought a championship memory home from Canada.

Kaylee and 8-year-old Journey, an Arabian gelding, participated in the 55th annual Canadian National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show Aug. 13-18 at Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba.

Kaylee won the Junior to Ride grand championship and was reserve champion in the Junior Owner to Ride.

Journey also took top 10 in the Open Hunter-Pleasure Class and Top 10 in showmanship-equitation.

It was Kaylee’s first trip to the national championship show. She said there were about 700 horses and 1,700 exhibitors.

She and Journey qualified in local and regional shows for the championship show.

“It was memorable,” Kaylee said. “I won’t forget it and I was very surprised.”

Kaylee said when she left the ring she knew “I had a good ride. I didn’t know I was going to win. When I came out of the ring I told my trainer (Dennis Wigren) he (Journey) felt light and soft.”

The excitement built when the Top 10 were called back into the arena. Other names were called, with Kaylee and Journey announced last.

“I hugged my horse,” Kaylee said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was the greatest moment, then I cried and my trainer and mom ran into the arena.”

Kaylee is beginning her freshman year at Enumclaw High and hopes at some point to train horses.